Marathas after Shivaji


Marathas after Shivaji

A year after the death of Shivaji, his eldest son and successor Sambhaji led a Maratha army into Mughal territory, captured Bahadurpur in Berar, and plundered its wealth. Provoked by this humiliation, Aurangzeb struck a compromise with the Mewar Rajputs and led an army into the Deccan. Bijapur and Golkonda were annexed in 1686 and 1687 respectively. The next task of Aurangzeb was to punish Sambhaji for giving protection to his rebellious son Prince Akbar II. In 1689 the Mughal forces captured Sambhaji and killed him. Sambhaji’s death did not deter the Marathas. His younger brother Rajaram renewed the fight from the fortress of Senji in the Tamil country. The fight continued for many years. After the death of Rajaram in 1700, resistance continued under the leadership of his widow, Tara Bai. Acting on behalf of his infant son, she despatched an army of 50,000 horsemen and infantry to Hyderabad. The capital was plundered and, as a result, trade in Masulipatnam, the major port of the region, trade remained disrupted for many years. At the time of Aurangzeb’s death in 1707 Marathas still had many fortified places under their control. After Aurangzeb’s death, Sambhaji’s son Shahu was released from prison and claimed the Maratha throne. Tara Bai objected and it led to a civil war, in which Shahu emerged victorious and ascended the throne in 1708. Balaji Viswanath was very supportive of Shahu and helped him ascend to the throne in 1708. As a gesture of his gratitude Shahu appointed Balaji Viswanath as the Peshwa in 1713. In course of time, the Peshwa became the real ruler. Shahu retired to Satara and the Peshwa started to rule from Poona.

Tara Bai

carried on a parallel rival government with Kolhapur as capital. But Raja Bai, the second wife of Rajaram and her son Sambhaji II imprisoned Tara Bai and her son in 1714. Sambhaji II ascended the throne of Kolhapur. However he had to accept the overlordship of Shahu. After Shahu died in 1749, Rama Raja who ascended the throne, made a pact with the Peshwa, according to which he became a titular head. Tara Bai was disappointed. Tara Bai and Rama Raja died in 1761 and 1777 respectively. Shahu II, the adopted son of Rama Raja, ruled till his death in 1808 as a nonentity. His son Pratap Singh who came to the throne next was deposed by the British government in 1839 on the charge that he plotted against the British Government. Pratap Singh died as a prisoner in 1847. His younger brother Shaji Appa Saheb, Shaji II, was made king by the British in 1839. Shahji II died in 1848 without a successor.

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